Peru--Eight volunteers at Worthley Pond fanned out early this morning to count loons, part of Maine Audubon's annual statewide survey. Comparing notes after the observation period (7 to 7:30 a.m.), the counters determined that they had seen seven different loons--three in the upper bay, two in the narrows, and two in the lower bay.
By coincidence, at the same time that the Worthley eight were conducting their Loon Count, the resident loons were doing a Stupid Human Count. It got to be a contest, and the loons were winning. They dove here and resurfaced, seconds later, way over there. They congregated, then dispersed. They did everything in their considerable power to be double- and triple-counted. Something about fish-stocking benefits from the government. The soaring call of one, reverberating off the hillsides, sounded like more-than-one. The humans were doing head spins straight out of The Exorcist.
In the end, the humans are the ones who mail in the results. So what they say goes. And they say that Worthley Pond had its highest count ever, one more than last year. (Two days before the survey, the Associated Press ran this story about the loon census.)
As for loon habitat, what could be better than Trout Lake?